Sweden considering Ukraine’s request for Gripen jets, but restrictions exist, says defense minister
Jas 39 Gripen (Photo:Finnish Aviation Museum via Wikipedia)
Sweden is considering Ukraine’s request for the transfer of Gripen fighter jets, but currently there are restrictions on realizing that request, Swedish Defence Minister Pål Jonson told the European Pravda media outlet on Feb. 15.
Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a summit in Brussels on Feb. 9 asked Stockholm to provide Kyiv with Jas 39 Gripen jets, but the Swedish prime minister said this was “not an option.”
According to Jonson, today the priority is to strengthen Ukraine’s air defense.
“When it comes to Gripen, we’re currently facing restrictions since these aircraft are crucial for maintaining our territorial integrity and sovereignty,” he said.
“So, it will be a serious obstacle in terms of our national defense resources.”
The Swedish defense minister noted he had discussed the strengthening of air defense with his Ukrainian colleague, Oleksii Reznikov, and they would continue working on this issue with other countries.
In addition, according to Jonson, Sweden is ready to boost military aid to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
“We’re significantly strengthening our support to Ukraine,” he said.
“We’ll start transferring and training the Ukrainian military on more than 50 CV-90 combat vehicles next week. We’re providing various air defense equipment, winter clothing, and are determined to increase our support to Ukraine.”
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Feb. 14 the latest Ramstein format meeting had brought no news about potential transfer of fighter jets to Ukraine.
Earlier, the Financial Times newspaper reported that the United States does not rule out the transfer or re-export of fighter jets to Kyiv, but, according to Western allies, additional air defense systems and ammunition are of higher priority now.
On Feb. 8, Zelenskyy made an official visit to the United Kingdom. The Ukrainian president met with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and addressed the Parliament.
Subsequent media reports said that Sunak instructed UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace to look into which of its aircraft London could make available to Kyiv. A final decision has yet to be made, however.
After addressing the European Parliament and at the EU summit, Zelenskyy said that regarding fighter jets, there were “certain positive decisions” that have been made “behind the scenes.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that some European partners of Ukraine have already “taken up” the issue of fighter jets.
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